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What is simultaneous breast reconstruction?

Dr. Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgeon

Simultaneous breast reconstruction is breast reconstruction that occurs at the same time as mastectomy. The timing of breast reconstruction is based on the medical situation and your preference.

Dr. Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgeon

Simultaneous breast reconstruction after mastectomy may be performed with both the general surgeon and plastic surgeon present. After the mastectomy is performed by the general surgeon, a tissue expander implant may be placed under the muscle by the reconstructive surgeon at the same surgical setting. After several months of weekly expansion, the expanders are removed with permanent silicone gel implants.

"Simultaneous breast reconstruction" is actually a term that requires clarification. One use of the term refers to the timing of reconstruction while another use refers to the sequence of reconstruction in cases of a double mastectomy.

Breast reconstruction during the same anesthetic event as the mastectomy may be termed simultaneous reconstruction, immediate reconstruction, or primary reconstruction. While this approach can be ideal, it may not be appropriate in selected cases (such as women who are anticipated to have radiation following their mastectomy). 

Simultaneous reconstruction is also a termed used when referring to reconstruction of both breasts at the same surgical setting. In other words, if there is a loss of both breasts a "simultaneous reconstruction" may refer to reconstructing both breasts at the same surgery. This term most commonly arises when discussing the use of buttock (gluteal) tissues to reconstruct a double (bilateral) mastectomy defect. Some surgical practices will reconstruct one side, allow the patient to recover, then reconstruct the opposite side at a later date. This is a staged reconstruction. Other practices may reconstruct both breasts in the same surgical setting (e.g. simultaneous bilateral S-GAP breast reconstruction).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.